“I’m not going to be raising a child. I’m going to be raising an adult.”
These are the words of Hermann Jonsson in a Tedx talk he gave titled “And so I decided to become the world’s best dad.”
It’s only about 15 minutes, but it’s a worthwhile view for any man setting out to be an excellent father. When he learned that he was going to be a father, Hermann created a vision of the person he wants his children to become one day, a vision of the values he wants them to carry. From there, though, he realized that the only person who he can really control is himself. So, he decided to transform himself into the type of person he wants his children to be. If he doesn’t want his children to drink, then he mustn’t drink. If he doesn’t want them to watch hours of TV, he mustn’t watch hours of TV.
But even doing this won’t be enough. It’s not strong enough to be a strong role model for children, Hermann realizes that he also must work on COMMUNICATING this vision to his children. He does this by using communication hacks to send strong messages to his children. For example, when talking about his daughter’s artwork, he focuses on her NOT the art, and he gets physically down on her level. He also always allows his children to stay home from school when they tell him they can’t go. He doesn’t interrogate them to find out whether they are really sick or not. Instead, he takes the pressure off of the child and then seeks to learn the TRUE reason that his child doesn’t want to go to school. This builds trust between him and his children by sending them a message: “Come to me. I will listen, I will take you seriously, and I will respond.” Hermann fears that when parents are too quick to dismiss their children’s needs, anxieties, or emotions, they are shutting down the lines of communication that are necessary for proper parenting.
Listening to Hermann’s talk was a bit humbling. Sometimes when I am dealing with my own kids, I feel like a detective. Constantly trying to deduce their lies, outsmart them, and coerce them into obeying my will. I think my biggest takeaway to share with you from this video is that if you want your kids to grow up to be a better person than you are, you need to envision the goal, strive for it yourself, trust your kids, and build open lines of communication.